Updates: Head of ISS Says Kohver's Backup Failed to React in Time, Kohver Rejects Charges
The head of the Estonian Internal Security Service, Arnold Sinisalu, said the operation in which apprehended Estonian secret service official Eston Kohver took part in in southern Estonia on Friday, September 5, had backup, but that it did not react quickly enough.
Sinisalu said the operation also involved the police and the border guard, and the location of the abduction had no border surveillance measures.
“One must take into account the fact the thick smoke the explosive device produced, and when the forces reacted Eston Kohver was already taken to Russia,” Sinisalu said, adding that as a strict rule, no ISS employee is allowed to cross the border to Russia.
The ISS head presented evidence to the government today.
Retired General Ants Laaneots, who served in the Soviet army for more than two decades, said the abduction was a planned FSB operation.
“The agent-X, who was supposed to cross the border and who was expected – he failed to materialize. That was just to draw him very close to the border, after which FSB agents probably crossed the border, apprehended him and took him over,” Laaneots told ERR radio.
He said once Russians have compiled a story they will stick with it and Estonia will have a hard time getting Kohver back. Laaneots said the plot is to feed the propaganda channels and connected with NATO increasing its presence in Estonia. “It is a retaliation,” he said.
According to a source close to FSB, Kohver has pled not guilty to the Russian charges of espionage and carrying an illegal firearm.
The source told Interfax that Kohver was not the only person investigated in the case and more arrests could follow.